Challenges of Running an Aftercare Shelter

September 22, 2015 Mariah Long Opinion 
Faith, Travel, Women & Girls, Aftercare, Empowerment, Sex Trafficking

In 2014 we visited the Open Door Foundation, the only aftercare emergency shelter for female sex trafficking victims in Romania. Its founder, Monica Boseff, was named a Trafficking in Persons Report Hero and invited us to visit her shelter in Bucharest. She is fearless and incredibly passionate. For example, she once threatened a trafficker trying to gain information about the women inside her shelter. Despite knowing that he could easily kill her, Monica boldly challenged him and promised to do whatever it takes to protect those in her care. Being strong in her faith, Monica charged, "I know where I am going when I die; hell is going to eat you alive." Yes. That happened. Monica would lay down her life to ensure the safety of the people that seek refuge in her shelter, and she shared with us a lot of the challenges that come with running such a facility.

Monica Boseff telling us about the horrific tactics traffickers use to keep girls compliant. "Someone doesn't have to use a vegetable peeler on your face for very long before you get the point." ©End Slavery Now

Recruiters

The trafficker from earlier that Monica threatened was the uncle of a girl that was in Monica's shelter. The girl was feeding him information about where the shelter was, how many girls were there and their ages. Infuriated, Monica ordered the girl out of the house. The girl's uncle called while she was packing her things, and Monica spoke with him (see story above).

Finances

Any organization that relies on the generosity of others struggles with finances in some capacity. Open Door Foundation is funded by one individual and would cease to exist if that donor decided to pull their dollars. Monica has hopes of opening a shelter for minor victims of trafficking but lacks the funds necessary to purchase a building, let along renovate and staff it. She estimated that the cost of a building large enough would be about $800,000.

Men

Once the state was informed that Monica was opening a shelter, they asked her how she was going to train women to be security guards. She replied, "I'm not. I'm going to hire men." The officials were shocked and pushed back, stating that men should not be around these girls. But Monica's goal was to help the girls establish healthy relationships and views of men. So she hired three men to be guards at the shelter. They stay in a smaller building outside the house most of the time, but on one occasion, a guard decided to cook breakfast for all the girls at the shelter. They called Monica that morning in a panic saying that one of the guards was making pancakes and that they were too scared to go into the kitchen. Monica explained that the breakfast was for them and that they deserve to have a man to cook for them. It was an incredible moment where those girls had a chance to see a man in a different light.

Qualified Help

Trauma counseling specific to female sex trafficking survivors is a type of counseling that many psychologists don't have experience with. When Monica was looking to hire someone for the job, she had many older applicants with little to no experience with this population. They also lacked passion and had a bad perception of prostituted women. Monica decided to take a chance on a girl named Beatrice who had just graduated from college and had no work experience but had a huge heart for these women. Beatrice has done an incredible job with individual and group therapy for the women and is on call for them 24/7.

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Topics: Faith, Travel, Women & Girls, Aftercare, Empowerment, Sex Trafficking

About the Author



Mariah Long

Mariah is the Program Manager of End Slavery Now. Currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati's DAAP program with a degree in Digital Design. 

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